A Question For The Decorating Pros...

Business By PieceofCakeAZ Updated 26 Oct 2006 , 5:58pm by playingwithsugar

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PieceofCakeAZ Posted 24 Oct 2006 , 8:26am
post #1 of 30

OK... I haven't worked out the logistics on this but I wanted to bounce an idea off of you guys. We will be looking to add our first non-family employee sometime around the beginning of the year. We are a wedding cake specialty shop (no walk in business, no last minute orders, etc).

Now we could do what everyone else does and pay by the hour, but I was thinking of doing something a little different and I was wondering what you guys thought about it.

I'll call it "pay per cake". icon_biggrin.gif

Here's the deal (I'm going to use round numbers to make it easy).

Let's say an average decorator makes $10 an hour and works 40 hours a week, they make $400 a week/$1600 a month while working 160 hours. At our shop we aren't going to expect someone to decorate 100+ cakes a week, it would be more like 6 full wedding cakes per week. No baking would be involved, just building, decorating, and delivering the 6 wedding cakes. (perhaps making buttercream would be the other duty).

So they decorate 24 wedding cakes in a month and make $1600. That comes out to about $67 per cake that they decorate and deliver.

So here is my thought... instead of paying them by the hour, why not pay them $70 per cake they decorate. That way if they are really talented and can decorate quickly while maintaining quality, they leave when they are done with their cakes. So if she finishes all 6 weddings by Thursday at noon, she takes the rest of Thursday & all of Friday off to be with her family (or just chill) but she makes exactly the same amount of money as she would working 40 full hours somewhere else. Need to come in at 10? Go home at 2? It doesn't matter, no time clock to punch. As long as the work is done on time and done well, it's all good.

I guess the only downside would be for someone who is a bit slower decorating. There would be no overtime and if it took 14 hours a day to finish 6 wedding cakes, you still make $70 on that cake. But honestly we can't afford to hire someone really slow and I know that asking a seasoned pro to knock out 6 wedding cakes a week is no biggie no I don't anticipate a problem.

Obviously I haven't talked to our accountant or lawyer about it yet to make sure that it would work but I am curious to see if you would like to be paid in this manner or if you think my idea sucks.

Thanks!

-Kevin

29 replies
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ozcake Posted 24 Oct 2006 , 9:54am
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You would definetly need to check the labour/employment laws applicable where you are.

We have a business and we wanted someone to do cleaning and under the award (employment regulations here) we had to pay someone a minimum of 3 hours per shift even though there was only about 1 & 1/2 hours cleaning to do (add that up over a week and a year and it really makes a difference) So we ended up getting someone with an ABN (Australian Business Number issued through the Tax Office) who did the cleaning for us - they had set themselves up as a business and we paid them via invoice thereby there was no minimum hours we just paid them $X per clean and it was up to them (as long as it was done properly) as to how fast they worked.

Maybe something similiar could work where you are but definetly check I used to be a HR mgr and if your laws say an emp'ee must be paid an hourly rate (regardless of whether they agreed to the conditions you offered) it could bite you on the backside.

Good luck hope you can find a suitable solution icon_smile.gif

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cakenbake Posted 24 Oct 2006 , 10:23am
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One thought that comes to mind is the reliability factor. You have a lot more at stake if this person procrastinates. The cakes could end up being rushed therefore not as good as they could be. Worse yet, not on time ect. I just happen to be a person that seems to always underestimate how long it will take to do a project in general. Just a thought. Good luck and congradulations on your business doing well!!

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IHATEFONDANT Posted 24 Oct 2006 , 10:34am
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It sounds good to me.

I'm sure you will give them a "test" cake to do so you can see their work?

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playingwithsugar Posted 24 Oct 2006 , 10:44am
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I don't think that is a very good idea. A local bakery tried that for a while -- reliability was the factor that made them go back to regular hours. Their hires would wait until the last minute to come in and do their work, then rush through the jobs so they could get paid and go home quickly.

Do you have a vocational high school or a trade school that teaches commercial baking? That may be your alternative. The student can come in on a cooperative, or internship, and work part-time for you, which may be more to your benefit.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

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SweetConfectionsChef Posted 24 Oct 2006 , 1:22pm
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I think it could work if you find the right person! Also, I would set them up as a contract worker. You could use the "business deductions" they would get as another "plus" and save yourself some tax hassle. My catering staff is set up that way and it works out great....again...if you find the right person (s). JMO.

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ChRiStY_71 Posted 24 Oct 2006 , 1:34pm
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If you found the right person, it would be fine. Having flexibility in today's workplace is often hard to come by, I'm sure the right person will come along! You will just need to treat them as a private contractor, not a paid employee. Be sure to have them sign a contract!

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RisqueBusiness Posted 24 Oct 2006 , 1:58pm
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I don't know if that would work.


When I was hired by Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream Parlor, I was hired at 600 dollars a week.

I told them that I could only work 4 days a week since I was off Thrusday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

My job was to do enough cakes to fill the cooler in front and have enough cakes in the freezer, they really didn't care how many hours I put in. THat's what they said when they hired me..."AS LONG AS THE WORK GOT DONE!"

Unfortunately, the days that I wasn't there and they would run out of cakes the owner started to "PICK" on me.

He asked me if I could come in one more day during the week. So I would come in on Tuesdays after school, unfortunately I would have to come in after 4 pm and drive during rush hour across town, sometimes I wouldn't get there till a little after 6 pm!

I would stay till 10 or 11pm because I had a 7 am class in the am.

I would decorate anywhere from 25 cakes if they were special orders to 50 cakes, their regular deco cakes per day I worked.

then he requested another day. I ended up working 6 days a week for this man..he didn't tell me he had 3 ice cream stores and he wanted me to fill all 3 of his coolers and freezers! and do all the special orders also.

So what started out as a nice paying part time job became a NIGHTMARE. The faster I work, the more I produced...it seemed the "greedier" he got.

So, then he wanted to keep track of my hours and started to have me sign in and out and write down how many cakes I did every week...

one day...

I had parked my car several blocks away because the area was closed for an ongoing street fair..and 20 min into my ride home I was called back to come and pick up a cake to deliver it!! 8 pm at night after I had put in my FULL day of work!!


after that, I quit.

The man would berate me, saying things like "I don't see why you need a degree to put icing on a cake".

Every time something would break or not work...he'd ask me what happened, I finally told him that I wasn't HIRED TO BABY SIT THE CHILDREN. If the band of 15 year olds he hired wasn't working out that he should hire older staff!


**************************************

I"m not saying that this is what will happen at your place, but working by they piece..may or may not work paying the same for a simple cake that you would pay for an intricate cake may not make your worker too happy

*****************************************

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mgdqueen Posted 24 Oct 2006 , 2:07pm
post #9 of 30

This is certainly an interesting topic. I thought it would be a great idea until I've read various responses. I am intrigued to find out what you will decide to do. Good luck and congratulations on needing another person for your business!!

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modthyrth Posted 24 Oct 2006 , 7:27pm
post #10 of 30

I know that there are a ton of job postings at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in the $8-$10 per range, and they're required to do a 3 month externship. That's probably a great resource for cheap, talented and trained labor, though you'll probably have a lot of turnover.

You could pay by the cake if you were hiring independent contractors, but independent contractors are tricky. I run a business here in Gilbert, AZ, and I know we couldn't classify our employees as independent contractors if we told them what to do and when, essentially. They had to run an independent business (like the cleaners mentioned above) in order to pay by the job. We ended up having to hire hourly or salaried workers and pay the payroll taxes.

I know someone with a ton of raw talent and a passion for cake decorating who would be interested in such a position. Let me know if you'd like her contact info. She used to be my employee (before she left to get a job with health benefits--can't blame her!) and I can vouch for her reliability, creativity, and talent. Plus she's funny as hell, always a bonus. icon_wink.gif

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RisqueBusiness Posted 24 Oct 2006 , 8:00pm
post #11 of 30

oh, schools are great! In my university they even offer UNPAID internships.

You can do it just for the college creds, but it only lasts 11 weeks.

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Dizzymaiden Posted 24 Oct 2006 , 8:10pm
post #12 of 30

I was thinking about becoming a free lance cake decorator. This sounds like a fair arrangement but I wonder if every cake is a $70 cake? Some may be easier or harder. I would enjoy being able to have a set amount of cakes and that way I could say ...well 10 is too much or maybe I could do more.

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PieceofCakeAZ Posted 24 Oct 2006 , 10:13pm
post #13 of 30

Thanks for all of the feedback!!! After doing a little investigation today,it seems there isn't really a good way to structure it as presented and make it work (it can be done, but it is a real PITA).

The advice I was given was "if you want to do it that way, pay them hourly and when they are finished with the decorating send them home for the day with pay." That makes sense, it accomplishes the same thing but we don't have to mess with any employment laws. icon_biggrin.gif

Thanks again!

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PieceofCakeAZ Posted 24 Oct 2006 , 10:26pm
post #14 of 30

A couple of you have mentioned culinary school externships and we were thinking about doing something like that and have decided against it.

We really want to hire 1 person (for now) that is certain that this is what they want to do for a living and is looking for the perfect fit. We will offer profit sharing, paid vacation, health insurance (hopefully), a flexible schedule, and a completely laid back work environment... hopefully that is a good fit for some of the talented decorators in the area.

As a new culinary graduate it is your responsibility to yourself to try out a few different jobs that are suited to you and stick with the one you like best, I understand that and this is why an externship isn't that appealing... the potential for frequent turnover.

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RisqueBusiness Posted 24 Oct 2006 , 10:31pm
post #15 of 30

you can always hire an intern to do the "grunt" work..lol

BUT that is what they are there for...11 weeks of indentured servitude...and who knows, your environment would be exactly what the'd be looking for!

I myself am going to try it with the young man that is helping me out. I've already spoke to the school and he seemed interested.

So. let's see what happens in November.

Good Luck!

PS: Sounds like you guys have it goin' on out there!

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mthiberge Posted 24 Oct 2006 , 10:52pm
post #16 of 30

OH MY GOD!!! If I lived anywhere near you PieceofCakeAZ I would be all over that like a pack of dogs on a three legged cat....my dream job!!!aaaahhhh. I would totally be ever devoted to you and I like your pay idea, it would suit me fine. But I LOVE cake decorating so I wouldn't wait until the last minute and then be all rushy. It would sure beat working in a commercial bakery forced to a servituted of baking BUNS and savoring every hard earned cake decorating minute... Congratulations on needing more staff!!

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PieceofCakeAZ Posted 24 Oct 2006 , 11:13pm
post #17 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by modthyrth


I know someone with a ton of raw talent and a passion for cake decorating who would be interested in such a position. Let me know if you'd like her contact info. She used to be my employee (before she left to get a job with health benefits--can't blame her!) and I can vouch for her reliability, creativity, and talent. Plus she's funny as hell, always a bonus. icon_wink.gif




You had me at "Funny as hell". icon_biggrin.gif Unfortunately it takes more than just plain being funny to get a job at POC. icon_wink.gif Here are a few other requirements:

1. Poor singing voice (if they have a nice singing voice they should be willing to sing poorly to fit in). Extra points for singing songs they don't know the works to and creating their own funnier lyrics for said song.

2. A criminal record is fine as long as all of the offenses were crimes against "the man" who was "trying to keep a sista down". Crimes against Barry Manilow are also acceptable.

3. No ownership of live monkeys will be tolerated, they freak me out and I could never hire someone that had a different set of values as they relate to primates.

4. If I show up one day at the shop wearing a shirt that says "I'm what Willis was talkin' bout", they should know who Willis is without having to ask.

5. They should have viewed the movie "Swingers" no less than 10 times and should have some level of recognition when I start quoting or referring to it. Knowlegde of "Friends" and "Seinfeld" are also helpful.

6. Ownership of a "Donna Martin Graduates" T-shirt is a huge point scorer... wearing it to the interview practically guarantees them a job.

7. They should not speak Klingon nor have ever attended a Star Trek Convention.

8. Pug owners are encouraged to apply (if someone shows up with a pug, wearing a 'Donna Martin Graduates' T-shirt, repeating the phrase" I'll have a scotch on the rocks. Any scotch will do as long as it's not a blend of course. Single malt Glenlivet, Glenfiddich perhaps maybe a Glen... any Glen.", we'll probably just give them the keys to the place. icon_wink.gif

If any of that sounds like your girl, I'd love to get in touch with her as we closer to hiring someone. icon_biggrin.gif



Oh... and Suns fans are encouraged to apply... Rockets fans are not. icon_wink.gif

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PieceofCakeAZ Posted 25 Oct 2006 , 2:09am
post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by RisqueBusiness

you can always hire an intern to do the "grunt" work..lol

BUT that is what they are there for...11 weeks of indentured servitude...and who knows, your environment would be exactly what the'd be looking for!

I myself am going to try it with the young man that is helping me out. I've already spoke to the school and he seemed interested.

So. let's see what happens in November.

Good Luck!

PS: Sounds like you guys have it goin' on out there!




If an intern did the grunt work... what would I do? Watching people work while repeating "needs more cowbell" is only funny for so long. icon_biggrin.gif

Best of luck with your intern, I hope he works out for you!

I know everyone is wondering and I hate to threadjack my own thread but I have to ask... considering the type of cakes that you specialize in... is it ever weird with guys and girls working side by side to create adult themed cakes... it seems like a Human Resources H-Bomb ready to blow. icon_surprised.gif icon_eek.gif If I worked with you and you said "How does this look?", I'd probably give the same response every single time... "Um... it looks a little small... yeah that's it... small". icon_surprised.gif icon_biggrin.gif

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PieceofCakeAZ Posted 25 Oct 2006 , 2:16am
post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by mthiberge

OH MY GOD!!! If I lived anywhere near you PieceofCakeAZ I would be all over that like a pack of dogs on a three legged cat....my dream job!!!aaaahhhh. I would totally be ever devoted to you and I like your pay idea, it would suit me fine. But I LOVE cake decorating so I wouldn't wait until the last minute and then be all rushy. It would sure beat working in a commercial bakery forced to a servituted of baking BUNS and savoring every hard earned cake decorating minute... Congratulations on needing more staff!!




You certainly sound like the type of person we are looking for... let me know if you ever move to Phoenix... heck, we'll even let you bake a bunch of buns if you ever start to miss the commercial bakery gig. icon_wink.gif icon_biggrin.gif

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RisqueBusiness Posted 25 Oct 2006 , 5:50am
post #20 of 30

Well, actually...we do other cakes also and those are the only ones that I've let him touch...WHEN HE COMES IN...lol

and the reason that he's actually there is because he's in charge of the million and one cake balls that I'm making for the GAY PRIDE PHONE BOOK LAUNCH, and he got a T-SHIRT for his efforts..lol

come to think about it...I haven't seen him around in over a week....


hummmmmmmmmmmmmmm....!

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darlene_000 Posted 25 Oct 2006 , 7:50pm
post #21 of 30

Ahhh I would totally love to work for you! Sounds great!

I am in the area, but a beginner so no where near what you need! Plus I'd be taking a pay cut... but a pay cut for something you love to do isn't all bad icon_smile.gif

In a few years after some much needed practice I may come stalking you! hehehe

Darlene

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KimAZ Posted 25 Oct 2006 , 11:30pm
post #22 of 30

Hey Kevin,
Ok, I'm laughing at your qualifications list. thumbs_up.gif I can tell you would be a blast to work for! I keep meaning to stop by your shop just to say Hi. You're not far from me at all. I was at Christy's store today and she tells me you are a great guy!

Anyway, I too dream of doing cakes of your calibur and would love to see more of your work and talk cake sometime.
Have a great day!
KimAZ

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tracy702 Posted 26 Oct 2006 , 5:21am
post #23 of 30

I would love that - I might have to use that one day when I hire someone. I make 3 full wedding cakes a day, if they smaller, I do 4. But everyday I go to work - I know what everytime I decide to come in -I have 3 cakes to do before I go home. I usually work 7:30 to 3:30 and take a 30 minute lunch. I am also on the internet A LOT! Thanks to CC being so addictive.

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PieceofCakeAZ Posted 26 Oct 2006 , 8:34am
post #24 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by darlene_000

Ahhh I would totally love to work for you! Sounds great!

I am in the area, but a beginner so no where near what you need! Plus I'd be taking a pay cut... but a pay cut for something you love to do isn't all bad icon_smile.gif

In a few years after some much needed practice I may come stalking you! hehehe

Darlene




Sweet! I have been stalked by a Tracy, 2 Jennifers, an Amber, A Haley, and a Steve (long story icon_wink.gif ), but never a Darlene... I can't wait to see your technique. icon_wink.gif icon_biggrin.gif

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PieceofCakeAZ Posted 26 Oct 2006 , 8:39am
post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by KimAZ

Hey Kevin,
Ok, I'm laughing at your qualifications list. thumbs_up.gif I can tell you would be a blast to work for! I keep meaning to stop by your shop just to say Hi. You're not far from me at all. I was at Christy's store today and she tells me you are a great guy!

Anyway, I too dream of doing cakes of your calibur and would love to see more of your work and talk cake sometime.
Have a great day!
KimAZ




I give Christy $5 everytime she tells someone I am great guy... It's good to see that she isn't just sending me these invoices for nothing. icon_wink.gif

You are totally welcome to stop by, but give us a month or so ... the shop is getting "prettier" over the next couple of weeks. We have carpet going in the front area soon and some other upgrades that will make the place look awesome... right now it's borderline ghetto. icon_surprised.gif

Maybe if you're lucky you will stop by on a day when we are chucking cake at cars as they drive by on Main St and we can see what kind of arm you've got on ya. icon_wink.gif

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playingwithsugar Posted 26 Oct 2006 , 8:59am
post #26 of 30

Bad singing voice? Oh, damn, and I won't be relocating there for another 5 years (son in college). I have a nephew who might be going to SCI in Autumn, and will need a job. He can't sing, either, and will need a job while he's out there.

Crimes against Barry Manilow? Hasn't his hairdresser made him suffer enough?

And who the heck is Donna Martin?

Theresa icon_smile.gif

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darlene_000 Posted 26 Oct 2006 , 2:28pm
post #27 of 30

"Sweet! I have been stalked by a Tracy, 2 Jennifers, an Amber, A Haley, and a Steve (long story icon_wink.gif ), but never a Darlene... I can't wait to see your technique."

Oh my technique is very unique... Im sure you'll love it!

I guess I don't quite fit your job profile though... I can sing.... and I don't have pugs, I have Rat Terriers.

Are others invited to the cake throwing on Main St? Im gonna be over there tomorrow night for class at Christy's... sounds like a blast for a Friday night activity!

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modthyrth Posted 26 Oct 2006 , 3:37pm
post #28 of 30

Cake throwing is fun, but slingshot + buttercream is much more satisfying. Trust me.

tmriga--"who is donna martin?" Say it isn't so! I weep for the citizens of our nation's most famous zip code. Clearly someone needs to sit down (be strapped down) for a guilty-pleasure-television marathon.

I hope I'll get to meet some of you guys on monday at Christy's--you seem like a fun bunch!

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RisqueBusiness Posted 26 Oct 2006 , 4:41pm
post #29 of 30

Ha, I too confess that I was like....DONNA MARTIN >>>WHOOOOOOOO??

Then as I read further I realized.....it was DONNA MARTIN AKA Tori Spelling!!!! from 90210

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaghggggggggggggggg!!

Kill me now!

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playingwithsugar Posted 26 Oct 2006 , 5:58pm
post #30 of 30

Well, heck, did I receive an education today, or what? Not to mention the education I was getting while working and being a single mom full time and going to college part time during the Zip Code craze that swept the nation.
Heck, I didn't even have time to let Calgon Take Me Away!

Theresa icon_smile.gif

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